The days leading up to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremony are filled with drama. But once you get past the naysayers, the haters and the critics, you have a list of artists, musicians and other important folks that are worthy of serious recognition.
This year's list is no exception – a group of inductees who have made a very important and long-lasting impact on how and why we listen to music.
One great example is the 2012 Early Influence inductee: Freddie King.
As one of the biggest influences on rock guitarists through the last 40 years, King deserves a place in the Hall of Fame.
Born in Texas in 1934, King was introduced to guitar as a small child by his uncle at the age of six. It would become his life's work and his longest love affair. At 15, after his father died, the family moved from Dallas to Chicago. There, King worked in a steel mill, but soon discovered the thriving Chicago music scene.
As King grew into an ambitious young guitarist, he began sneaking into South Side blues clubs in Chicago, listening in and taking notes from the some of the greats – Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and Elmore James, to name a few.
King performing his version of the Elmore James song, "Look Over Yonder Wall."
His crash course in Chicago blues would benefit him immensely. Eventually he went on to play with the likes of Willie Dixon, Little Walter and Hound Dog Taylor and many more celebrated blues stalwarts. From there he would come into his own, touring, recording and making well-loved music until his untimely death in 1976.
King is recognized for his particular guitar style, which points to his Texas roots and is blended with Chicago blues. King stands out from a lot of traditionalists because of his more progressive approach to guitar.
He cut his first sides for El-Bee in 1956 but it was in 1960 when he signed with Cincinnati-based King Records that he truly made his mark. At King (and their subsidiary Federal) King recorded his trademark instrumental hits like the often covered "Hide Away" and others like "San-Ho-Zay," "Just Pickin'," and "Remington Ride."
His clean, clear picking patterns had a profound influence on early rockers and his ability to play lead in a lyrical way in which you didn't miss the vocals was almost unparalleled.
Often thought of as aggressive, there can be little doubt why King's style attracted and inspired so many early rock guitarists, including Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Mick Taylor and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
As a performer, King's raw, visceral performances showcased his love for playing. That was proven by his tireless touring schedule, which would eventually be a big factor in his premature death. He was well known for spending 300 days out of a year on tour.
So, in all honesty, I'm not worried about the politics, celebrity drama or backstage lobbying that seems to happen around the time the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame prepares to hand out awards. I'm pleased to know that someone who devoted his life to creating amazing music has finally been recognized.
- "Hide Away"
- "Big Legged Woman"
- "The Stumble"
- "Boogie Man"
- "Hot Tomato"
- "Yonder Wall"
- "Just Pickin'"
- "Woke Up This Morning"
- "Shake Your Booty Baby"
- "Me And My Guitar"
- "I Don't Know"
- "Going Down"
- "I Wonder Why"
- "Messin' With The Kid"
- "Mojo Boogie"
Twinkle VanWinkle ponders, creates and discovers cool stuff about music, movies, food, fashion and so forth. Her thoughtful writings and interactives give great advice about healthy food, cooking tips, DIY projects, fashion and more. She'll teach you a thing or two about music as well. Along with producing dynamic entertainment content for LIN Media, she is a mother, musician and social media fanatic.
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